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The Less Sugar, Younger Skin Diet

Ward off wrinkles with this expert meal plan that's low on the sweets and high on the anti-aging power!

When we think of environmental factors that age our skin, the usual culprits pop into our heads—sun and pollution.

After all, the sun and pollution are hard to avoid, and while we can protect ourselves by using sunscreen and staying indoors, nothing is 100 percent foolproof.

QUIZ: Do You Crave Sugary Food?

We often fail to recognize, however, that many things we put in our mouth can also age us. One of the best examples of an ingested substance that ages our face is added sugar. To avoid sugar's aging attributes, cut it out of your diet—it's foolproof!

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Your Low Sugar, Young Skin Diet Plan

How does sugar damage youthful skin? Researchers have found that excessive sugar intake may damage collagen and elastin, two important proteins in the body that help our skin stay smooth and tight by providing structure and support. It’s the loss of collagen and elastin that eventually leads to wrinkling

MORE: Get the Complete Guide to Sweeteners

You may think added sugar is impossible to avoid. It seems to be everywhere these days, in foods you’d guess (like cola, candy and ice cream) as well as some you wouldn’t (like corn chips, salad dressing, processed stuffing and chicken coating, bread crumbs, breakfast cereals, mayonnaise, crackers, cough syrup and frozen dinners). Following a whole foods diet is an important step towards eliminating added sugar from your diet and will eventually bring your closer to more fabulous skin. In addition to great skin, it will also keep your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes down.   

To get started, try my sample menu of a completely anti-aging added sugar-free day, and keep checking back for more menus in the coming months!

Breakfast
1 hard boiled egg on a 100-percent whole wheat English muffin with six ounces of low-fat yogurt ½ cup blueberries (330 calories, 7g fat, 20g protein, 6g fiber)

AM Snack
100-percent whole wheat crackers (8) plus 1 TBS 100 percent natural peanut or almond butter (you’ll know the peanut butter you are purchasing is anti-aging if the only ingredients are peanuts or peanuts and salt) (250 calories, 14g fat, 7g protein, 5g fiber)

Lunch
2 cups raw Spinach with 1 TBS golden raisins, 1 ounce Marcona almonds and a light olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing plus 4 ounces of grilled chicken (400 calories, 24g fat, 32g protein, 5g fiber)

PM snack
Apple (77 calories, 0g fat, 0g protein, 4.5g fiber)

Dinner
½ cup black beans atop 1 cup brown rice

Lightly steamed broccoli spears with red peppers

½ cup Fresh mango (400 calories, 3g fat, 14g protein, 13g fiber)

Late night snack (ONLY IF YOUR HUNGRY, NOT IF YOUR BORED IN FRONT OF THE TV!)
1 ½ cup air popped pop corn (50 calories, 0.5g fat, 1.5g protein, 2g fiber)

TOTAL DAILY VALUES = 1500 calories, 49g fat, 75g protein, 35g fiber

MORE: Recipes for Glowing Skin

Wondering what to do with the sugar that’s left in your pantry? How about increasing your skin’s radiance by using it to make a sugar scrub? Check out how to do it here.

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